atherine Miller Hahn, “Cathy,” has always had Community Theater in her blood. By the age of 9, Cathy had her own theater and performing arts school inside the garage of her family’s home back in Webster Groves, Missouri, where she charged the neighborhood children ten cents a day to attend.
Now, she is celebrating 25 years in various capacities with Prescott Center for the Arts (PCA).
This spring she heads up the production of Big River, the Tony Award winning musical story of a teenage Huckleberry Finn and the runaway slave Jim.
Big River runs May 10 – May 27, 2018 on the Main Stage at PCA, 208 N. Marina St. in downtown Prescott.
As the director, Cathy is excited to bring this story of diversity, adventure and friendship to Prescott.
“Diversity is the beautiful part of Big River,” Cathy says. “Mark Twain was a humanitarian personified through his countless writings. He braved the stigma of writing affectionately about minorities, especially a slave, and that took a lot of guts in those days.”
Big River is based on Mark Twain’s timeless classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn sweeps the audience down the mighty Mississippi as the irrepressible Huck Finn helps his friend, Jim, a slave, escape to freedom at the mouth of the Ohio River. Their adventures are hilarious, suspenseful and heartwarming, bringing to life favorite characters from the novel. The award-winning score by Roger Miller is the heart of this brilliant celebration of pure Americana.
This production includes a live band that is at the center of the stage and for each performance, Cathy says. There is a cast of more than 30 and a crew of more than 20.
“It’s a pretty big show,” Cathy states. And for the first time in their history, PCA will tour this production to Theatreworks in Peoria for three performances June 2 and 3.
Cathy’s depth and breadth of experience in the worlds of literature and performing arts far outdate her time in Prescott. She holds a Masters Degree in Theatrical Direction from Kansas University, and completed her coursework in the PhD program at KU in the Philosophy of Theater and Film before raising her family took priority.
Over her career, Cathy has directed dozens of productions with professional theater companies, academic theaters, regional theaters and community theaters. She has also served communities as a youth theater instructor, a high school theater instructor, a high school English teacher, community college and university teacher in three states — Missouri, Kansas and Arizona.
“Community Theater is the most rewarding for me, because you are basically teaching and directing at the same time, and it’s all for the community’s enjoyment ,” she said.
And while Cathy’s resume is lengthy and remarkable, she raves about the caliber of people she works with every week at PCA. From the staff, to the technical team, to the community’s actors on the stage, Cathy says the quality of performing artists in the greater Prescott area is unparalleled.
“We are so rich in artistic talent in this community,” she said.
Cathy is the Past President of the Board of Directors at PCA, 2014 – 2017, and she continues to serve actively on the Board. She plans to continue as a member of the Professional Writers of Prescott and is currently working on her memoir. However, her memoir is on hold as she has two more productions to direct over the next 12 months, Tuesdays with Morrie in October 2018 and Extremities in April 2019.
To purchase tickets to Big River please visit the website www.pca-az.net, or call the PCA Box Office at (928) 445-3286.